Former Condomania site springs to life with a hidden gem inside an amazing Tokyo building.

Anyone who’s visited Harajuku and nearby Omotesando will know about the Tokyu Plaza on the corner, with its dazzling mirrored feature above the escalators making it a popular photo spot that’s become well known online.

What you might not know, though, is that a new Tokyu Plaza complex has just opened on the corner opposite, and as it’s called “Harakado” — using the abbreviated word for “Harajuku” (“Hara“) and the Japanese word for “corner” (“kado“) — the older site has also been given a new name, Omokado (“Omotesando Corner“).

All eyes are now firmly focussed on Harakado, though, as it’s a very cool facility with three underground floors and nine above-ground floors, where you can find everything from a public bath in the basement to a creator’s lounge on the third floor and an outdoor bar on the rooftop. However, what’s been attracting attention online is the fourth floor, which many say is the best level, as it’s a public space called “Harappa“, which combines the word for Harajuku with the word “happa“, which means “leaf“.

▼ The Harappa (“ハラッパ”) logo might look like a scribble, but it’s actually designed to represent greenery, with the black characters representing insects poking through.

This is a stunning public space that’s free for members of the public to use, and the huge amount of greenery here aims to create a “borderless” feel, giving you the sense that you’re in the great outdoors.

The space was created by artists and designers who were asked to build areas that resembled the fields they played in as children.

▼ Created around the theme of sustainability, the materials used include sustainable planters and preserved flowers.

▼ There are plenty of environmentally friendly benches to sit on, and interesting displays and artworks to gaze at.

▼ The speakers play birdsong from the natural environment to make you feel like you’re out in the middle of nature.

There aren’t a lot of free places where you can sit and relax in Tokyo, so this floor is a haven for visitors wanting a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. It also has a few surprises in store, with some of the art installations providing inspiration and food for thought.

▼ Those wanting some actual food can head over to the Harakado cafe on the same floor.

Operated by Shimogamo Saryo, an esteemed Kyoto restaurant, in collaboration with the privately run Coffee Elementary School, this cafe is beautifully laid out, with plenty of seating by the window so you can overlook the streets of Harajuku below.

The Matcha Latte (700 yen US$4.47]) is one of the most popular items on the menu, as it uses high-quality matcha sourced from Kyoto, and it can be enjoyed hot or cold.

The matcha is strong, with a bitter taste, so the milk is sweetened to provide just the right balance. It was incredibly good — so good that we’d rate it as the best matcha latte we’ve ever had.

▼ Plus, being able to chill out and enjoy it while overlooking the busy streets below makes it taste even better.

All those people below probably have no idea that such a hidden oasis exists on the fourth floor of this building. Looking down at the long line outside the Ichiran ramen chain opposite, we felt glad that we were off our feet and away from the crowds.

Unlike the well-known Ichiran, Harakado’s Harappa remains a hidden haven in the city that’s yet to be discovered by visitors. It was so quiet and peaceful here that we almost wanted to keep it a secret all to ourselves!

A place like this is too good not to share, though, as it really is a must-visit spot. So next time you’re shopping in Harajuku, enjoying the dango samurai sword sweets and sushi crepes, don’t forget to unwind in the area’s coolest new hangout spot. It’s the next best thing to napping in the sunshine on a luxury department store rooftop!

Cafe information
Harakado Cafe / ハラカドカフェ
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 6-31-21 Tokyu Plaza Harajuku “Harakado” 4F
東京都渋谷区神宮前6丁目31−21 東急プラザ原宿「ハラカド」4階
Open 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Irregular holidays

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